Corn futures are steady to a penny higher in early trade.
- Sharp losses in the U.S. dollar index are spurring some light, corrective short-covering.
- Support also stems from strong weekly export sales of nearly 1.479 MMT for 2013-14 and 509,200 MT for 2014-15. The overall tally exceeded the top end of pre-report expectations by nearly 1.238 MMT.
- But signs that demand has been rebuilt has spurred limited reaction from traders in recent weeks, and the same holds true today.
- The market is also readying positions for year-end.
- Concerns about recent Chinese rejections of U.S. corn and dried distillers grains due to the presence of unapproved GMO material makes funds unwilling to lighten their large net short position.
Soybean futures are up 2 to 4 cents through the September 2014 contract, with far-deferred months mixed.
- A weaker U.S. dollar index is lifting the bean market as traders ready positions for the weekend. A number of traders will again take an extended break from the market due to the New Years holiday.
- Support also stems from weekly soybean export sales that topped expectations at 720,200 MT for 2013-14 and 68,100 MT for 2014-15. Soyoil sales also came in well above expectations at 83,900 MT.
- Traders are also digesting news China will end its government stockpiling program for soybeans. It will now rely on imports to refill state reserves. That could further boost Chinese soybean demand.
- South American weather remains a mixed bag. Hot temperatures are expected to continue to stress the crop into next week, but the 6- to 15-day outlook also holds chances for rains in major production areas.
Wheat futures are around a penny lower in the SRW market, while HRW and HRS wheat are 2 to 3 cents lower.
- The wheat market continues to struggle to shake pressure stemming from ample world wheat supplies. This is overshadowing impending weather concerns in the U.S. and solid wheat export sales for the week ended Dec. 19.
- Weekly wheat export sales of 596,900 MT for 2013-14 and 60,000 MT for 2014-15 topped pre-report expectations and represent solid demand.
- Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures in the Plains have eroded protective snowcover. This is concerning since another blast of arctic air is expected by Sunday.
- Pressure is being limited by hefty losses in the U.S. dollar index and a positive tone in the corn market today.
Live cattle futures gapped higher on the open and are enjoying slight to moderate gains. Feeder cattle futures are posting similar gains.
- Traders are favoring the upside as they wait for cash cattle trade to begin, signaling bullish expectations. Last week sales took place at $130 in the Southern Plains; the front-month contract is nearly $3 above this price.
- Feedlots are passing on bids at $129 and are countering with $133 offers. Late-day trade is likely.
- Choice boxed beef prices firmed 7 cents while Select softened $1.52 yesterday. But even more significant, just 87 loads changed hands. Movement has been quite light all week due to holiday time off.
- Weekly boxed beef export sales of 20,400 MT for 2014 were somewhat offset by net sales reductions of 7,200 MT for 2013. The overall tally was nevertheless up sharply from the week prior.
- Sharp U.S. dollar index losses are also giving both live and feeder cattle futures a lift.
Lean hog futures are steady to slightly higher this morning.
- Steep losses in the U.S. dollar index are giving bulls an edge as traders ready positions for this afternoon's Quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report. It is much anticipated since uncertainty exists regarding the impact of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Pre-report expectations are for All Hogs & Pigs to come in at 99.9% of year-ago levels.
- Traders are also looking for a seasonal low soon, though the cash and product markets have not yet indicated this. The market is also benefiting from some corrective short-covering amid ideas the downside has been overdone.
- The pork cutout value slipped 33 cents yesterday and movement was a light 269.84 loads. This is limiting buying interest.
- Early cash hog bids are mixed as some are still working to secure needs, but demand is on the light side due to back-to-back holiday weeks.